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Reflecting on our Grade 2-5 Career Development Programme

Featured Training and Events

Written by Harriet Boatwright (Learning & Development Adviser, OD&PL)

As we prepare for our next Grade 2-5 Career Development Programme, we hear from some of our previous participants to find out about how it has supported them. We also reflect on how we’ve developed the programme over the past year, based on conversations with the grade 2-5 community.

Our Career Development Programme consists of two distinct sessions – Career Planning (First Steps) and Career Information, Advice and Guidance.

Sign up for our next career development programme

Career Planning (First Steps)

This is a three-hour workshop delivered online and in person. In this session colleagues:

  • explore what their role/career means to them
  • consider what has been holding them back​
  • reflect on what they have already achieved and what they want to achieve​
  • find out where to go for support and resources to help with their next step

What our grade 2-5 community said about this session:

“The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly which helped us when it came to sharing personal experiences, hopes and fears. The session gave me the opportunity to meet others and learn about their experience and challenges when it comes to career planning as well as helping me to reflect on my own career and future aspirations. At the end, we were provided with useful resources we could use, and we were also told about other training courses available for staff to help their personal and professional development. I would highly recommend attending this course, as a first step, to anyone entertaining the idea of making changes to their careers.”

Career Information, Advice and Guidance

This session consists of two modules which cover:

  • effective CVs and job applications
  • effective interview skills with mock interview practice

We also invite a recruitment specialist from the University of Leeds to a live Q&A as part of our interview skills session.

What our grade 2-5 community said about this session:

“The Careers Programme delivered by Harriet and Jo was such an invaluable experience. The workshop highlighted the key things to include in your CV and how to tailor it to a specific job role. There was a chance for us to ask questions to a guest speaker and I noted down the advice on fundamentals that can make you stand out to employers. The mock interview was most helpful as I gained feedback on how I performed based on the teachings from the workshop. Both Harriet and Jo helped identify my weaker areas and provided me with practical feedback. I used the feedback and tips from the workshop for an interview and successfully got the job! I’m so grateful I attended this programme as I now have the confidence to ace future interviews. I would recommend this workshop to anyone looking to improve in these areas, as the support from both Harriet and Jo is outstanding.”

“The power of the mock interview is that it honed in on that ‘one thing’ that was missing for me. The instant feedback on the back of a situation that ‘feels’ a bit real but is actually safe made it much easier to open up and see what was happening.”

We recognised in our early cohorts of this programme that there was a real challenge for colleagues to talk positively about their contributions at work. This was due to a number of reasons, for some a lack of confidence, for others a lack of time to consider and articulate and for others a desire to avoid being ‘boastful’. A key part of our provision is to be agile and flexible to the needs of our community.

As a result, we have introduced an exclusive CliftonStrengths Workshop, facilitated by our colleague Dr Emma Spary, Head of Researcher Development and Culture in OD&PL.

At this workshop colleagues:

  • use StrengthsFinder to identify what they are good at and why
  • understand their top 5 strengths
  • consider why these are important to them
  • consider how certain roles better align with certain strengths
  • consider how to find fulfilment at work
  • explore what they want and value

What participants said about the CliftonStrengths workshop:

“I had an inner conflict at work and I did not realise why - it was about finding my strengths but on doing so realising where some strengths might be underdeveloped. It made me understand myself better but also listening to others, made me understand how other members of the team are the way they are. Thank you. Now I understand why I have this conflict and how I can help myself”

“The session was really interesting and thought-provoking. I liked that the facilitator gave plenty of time for us to talk through our strengths within the wider group but also in the smaller breakout rooms. The facilitator was honest about her own strengths and struggles which I think definitely made it easier for the group to share”

Sign up for our next career development programme


View our full grade 2-5 provision – including a monthly drop-in





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